Thursday, May 02, 2013

MOOC followup

Very briefly, here is an open letter by the San Jose State University philosophy department regarding MOOCs (one in particular).   Food for thought.

update:  my colleague Moshe Vardi pointed out his own editorial on this topic.

I don't agree with everything in either of these documents.  I do think it's worth thinking hard about the purpose of MOOCs.  Are they about idealistically providing access to fantastic educational opportunities at very low cost to the student for millions of potential pupils who have an internet connection?  Are they about cynically slashing the operating costs of universities by restructuring the educational experience and potentially eliminating large numbers of faculty jobs?  These are not mutually exclusive.


J said...

Michael Sandel also responded to the letter:

Igor said...

MOOCS were discussed at last week's AAAS Policy Forum (Plenary session: Re-imagining STEM Higher Education in the Worldwide Classroom). The audio/slides will be available here soon:

Anonymous said...

My hope is that MOOCs will expand what universities do. They will never replace the on campus experience and shouldn't be used for normal credit in most cases (no labs, etc). But the certificates could become an alternative educational product distributed by the university. The certificates aren't worth much now, but that is just because they are new and the classes are new. Ultimately, the certificates will be determined by the market, just like regular degrees, but they will come at lower cost.